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Drowsy Driver Prevention Week aims to make our roads safer

How Drowsy Driving Prevention Week Makes A Difference

We’re honking our horns for Drowsy Driving Prevention Week 2018, which runs from November 5th – 12th in order to spread awareness about the dangers of driving tired. This annual event created by the National Sleep Foundation is doing its part to educate the public about how drowsy drivers affects people and how it can be avoided.

Driving tired is the equivalent of driving drunk, meaning it’s incredibly dangerous. It’s time to come together to eliminate driving tired to make our roads safer.

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week 

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week shares infor about how to remain alert behind the wheel

So, what exactly caused drowsy driving? Being tired and fatigued comes from lack of sleep and exhaustion. Driving for too long without breaks, at odd hours like the middle of the night, and after getting poor rest can all put you in danger, and it’s more common than you think.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that in 2015  over 72,000 wrecks were caused by driver fatigue. 41,000 of these accidents led to injuries and over 800 deaths and these numbers are on the rise, as 16.5% of fatal wrecks involve a drowsy driver.

But what happens when you’re fatigued without even knowing it because of sleep apnea?

Sleep Apnea And Drowsy Driving

Sleep apnea currently affects over 25 million Americans and many people remain undiagnosed because the symptoms are missed during their sleep. People just assume that being chronically fatigued is a part of aging or due to their work routine. But in reality, it’s due to their untreated sleep disorder.

Some people sleep right through apneas, the periods when they stop breathing at night, caused by sleep apnea as your airways become blocked by the soft tissue in your throat collapsing. During these events, your body starts to work in order to restore airflow. Your blood pressure rises, your chest may heave, you toss and turn, and maybe more. This process is exhausting and prevents your body from getting the restorative rest it needs.

As a result, those with sleep apnea have 3 times as likely to be in an accident and as much as 50% of all commercial drivers may be untreated.

Along with increasing the risk of traffic accidents, if left untreated sleep apnea can contribute to:

  • Stroke
  • Heart Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • High Blood Pressure  

Along with experiencing chronic fatigue, sleep apnea symptoms include:

  • Excessive snoring
  • Waking with a headache or dry mouth
  • Irritability or confusion
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Choking or gasping in your sleep
  • Insomnia or frequently waking during the night

What Do I Do If I’m At Risk For Sleep Apnea?

Contact your doctor to get tested. Either a sleep study or at home test will quickly provide you with the answers you need. Then you and your doctor can develop a plan to help you get your life back.

Do your part for drowsy driving prevention week by stopping sleep apneaThe most common and effective sleep apnea treatment involves the nightly use of a Continuous Positive Airway (CPAP) machine. By providing a constant stream of air to keep your airways open, CPAP devices allow your body to receive the necessary oxygen for rejuvenating rest.

One study found that using a CPAP reduced the risk of having a traffic accident in as little as 2 to 7 days while reducing the overall risk by 70%. This is an almost immediate solution for making the roads a safer place.

If you think you may be at risk for sleep apnea, don’t put your health on the line. Contact us to get started today. Our representatives will help you quickly receive your CPAP through insurance.

Other Ways To Prevent Drowsy Driving

Aside from treating sleep apnea, there are other ways to ensure safe driving behind the wheel:

  • Get some rest. Make sure you sleep 7 to 9 hours before taking the wheel. If you feel drowsy, stop to take a 20-minute power nap or call it a night.
  • Recognize your limits. Take a break every two hours or every 100 miles. Don’t push yourself to make it to holiday gatherings or events in one long stretch. Stop if you need to.
  • Avoid driving at odd hours, like the middle of the night. woman is alert for driving drowsy prevention week
  • Drink coffee or tea to remain alert. Do not rely on sugary beverages or snacks that could cause a sugar high followed by a crash.
  • Have a buddy either in the car with you to help you stay awake and switch places if needed.
  • Listen to energizing music.
  • Get some fresh air by stopping to take a quick walk or rolling your windows down.
  • Chew gum or do some jaw exercises to help yourself stay alert.
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